Published in Criminal Law by Chris Eskew on December 28, 2022.

How long is a jail sentence for sexual abuse
Please note that our law firm practices law solely in the state of Indiana, and therefore cannot provide legal services outside of this jurisdiction.

A conviction for sexual abuse could land you behind bars for a substantial amount of time, and that is just one of many potential unfavorable consequences.

Being labeled a sex offender can destroy your life. Even a mere accusation with no credibility can be detrimental to your reputation and negatively impact your life.

In Indiana, authorities take allegations of sexual abuse seriously and prosecute these crimes harshly. If someone accuses you of sexual abuse, you should remain silent and not speak with the authorities until you speak to a criminal defense attorney.

At Eskew Law, we are experienced in defending a wide array of Indiana sexual abuse crimes. Contacting us immediately after an arrest or accusation is the best way to defend yourself. 

What Is Sexual Abuse?

Sexual abuse is essentially defined as sexual contact through force, sexual contact with a person below the age of consent, or with a person who is mentally or physically incapable of consenting.

Every state addresses sexual abuse and sexual assault crimes differently, and some are harsher than others. In Indiana, the penalties are steep.

Hiring a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney is your best chance of lessening or eliminating the negative repercussions such charges could have on your life. 

Were you or a loved one convicted of a sexual abuse crime in the Indianapolis area? The sex crimes attorneys at Eskew Law are ready to give you one-on-one personalized attention. Call Now

Indiana Sexual Assault Laws and Penalties 

How long is a jail sentence for sexual abuse? The answer is that it depends on what crime the State charges you with.

While the Indiana legislature has enacted several statutory sex crimes, two are frequently charged in relation to sexual abuse cases. 


Under Indiana law, rape is one of the most heinous offenses, and a conviction comes with harsh penalties.

In Indiana, a person commits rape if they knowingly or intentionally have sexual intercourse with another person or knowingly or intentionally cause another person to perform or submit to other sexual conduct under certain circumstances. Those circumstances include the following:

  • The alleged victim is compelled by force or threat of force;
  • The alleged victim is unaware of what is occurring; or
  • The alleged victim is so mentally disabled that they cannot consent.

Generally, rape is a level 3 felony. 

However, rape becomes a level 1 felony if the aggressor:

  • Uses or threatens the use of deadly force;
  • Is armed with a deadly weapon;
  • Causes serious bodily injury to the victim; or
  • Facilitates the rape by giving the victim a controlled substance without their knowledge, or knows someone drugged the victim without their knowledge.

The specific penalties vary depending on whether the crime is a level 3 or 1 felony. 

Rape Penalties

How long do you go to prison for rape? Rape, without any aggravating factors, is a Level 3 felony. A conviction is punishable by 3 to 16 years in prison.

If aggravating factors are present, the crime increases to a level 1 felony. A conviction for a level 1 felony is punishable by 20 to 40 years in prison.

The statute sets the advisory sentence to 30 years in prison, but the judge has the discretion to raise or lower this suggested sentence depending on the circumstances of each case.

Contact the sex crimes attorneys at Eskew Law. Call Now

Important Changes to the Indiana Rape Statute 

As of July 1, 2022, Indiana expanded its definition of rape to include situations when “the person disregarded the other person’s attempts to physically, verbally, or by other visible conduct refuse the person’s acts.”

Previously, intercourse was only considered rape if it occurred by force or if the victim was mentally incapacitated or unaware that it was happening.

Sexual Battery

A person commits sexual battery when, with intent to arouse or satisfy their sexual desires or the sexual desires of another, the perpetrator:

  • Compels the victim to submit to touching by force or the imminent threat of force; or
  • Touches a victim who is mentally disabled and cannot consent to the touching; or
  • Touches another person’s genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or female breast when that person is unaware that the touching is occurring.

A conviction for the above offense is a level 6 felony.

Under Indiana law, as with rape, the sexual battery will increase to a more significant felony under certain circumstances. Specifically, a sexual battery becomes a level 4 felony if the perpetrator commits the touching:

  • Using or threatening the use of deadly force;
  • While armed with a deadly weapon; or
  • By furnishing the victim, without their knowledge, with a controlled substance or knowing the victim was given a controlled substance without their knowledge.

The level of sexual battery directly impacts the potential amount of time you might spend behind bars if convicted. 

Sexual Battery Penalties

As stated, sex crime sentencing varies according to the seriousness level of the charge. A level 6 felony conviction is punishable by 6 to 30 months imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000, or a combination of both.

If the offense elevates to a level 4 felony as described above, the conviction becomes punishable by a prison sentence of 2 to 12 years with an advisory sentence of 6 years.

Sex Offender Registration Requirement

Penalties for a sexual assault charge do not stop at incarceration or fines. In Indiana, there is also mandatory sex offender registration.

Specifically, if convicted of a sex crime, you will be required to register as a sex offender for at least 10 years following your release from prison.

Often, offenders are required to register for life. Registration includes providing your personal information, including a picture of yourself, to the local police department. 

Being labeled a sex offender can hinder your ability to obtain meaningful employment, get a loan, and enroll in the military or school.

The stigma of the sex offender label is strong and will undoubtedly negatively impact your relationships. Because of these potentially life-long repercussions, having an experienced lawyer to aggressively defend your rights is particularly important if you get charged with a sex crime. 

Get in Contact With an Indiana Sexual Abuse Defense Attorney

If you still have questions, you are not alone. This is a confusing and stressful time in anyone’s life. Contact Eskew Law today to get your questions answered.

Sexual abuse charges are some of the most serious a person can face. Even if you are falsely accused, a mere allegation can damage your life, freedom, and reputation.

That is why our clients receive one-on-one personalized attention. We will work strategically to come up with the strongest defense possible. Reach out to us by phone or contact us online to schedule a confidential, free consultation!

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Chris Eskew

Chris Eskew is the founding partner of Eskew Law. With over 15 years of experience, he focuses his practice on criminal defense, DUI defense, and family law. Chris is known for his dedication to his clients, his strong advocacy skills, and his commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes in legal matters. He is well-respected within the legal community and has earned a reputation for providing personalized and effective representation.